Mexican legislature renews effort to ban double-trailer trucks

Mexican legislature renews effort to ban double-trailer trucks

A proposed ban on double tractor-trailers in Mexico follows similar legislative efforts that have not become law. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

A member of Mexico’s federal legislature has introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of double tractor-trailers despite vigorous opposition to similar efforts in the past.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Monreal Ávila on Feb. 5, is the latest of several legislative efforts to ban the trucks, or place weight limitations on them, on the grounds that they are dangerous to the public.

Monreal, in a statement outlining the legislation, said that accidents involving double tractor-trailers kill 1,200 people a year, and “the solution can’t be put off any longer because [the trucks] put the lives of a large number of Mexicans at risk.”

Shippers and truckers oppose prohibitions on double-tractor trailers, arguing the longer trucks are such an integral part of the Mexican logistics system that entire supply chains would break down without them. Opponents of the bans argue that the country would see even more accidents if double tractor-trailers were prohibited, because the number of single-tractor trailers would have to increase dramatically to meet demand.

In June 2018, the federal government introduced a regulation that all double tractor-trailer operators must certify their vehicles, and meet certain requirements, including anti-lock brakes, a global positioning satellite system, a regulator that restricts the vehicles to 80 kilometers an hour (about 50 mph), and low emission levels. But although that temporarily reduced the numbers on the streets while operators complied, the effect appeared to diminish as the trucks became certified.

State trucking restrictions

Trucking groups have long opposed any efforts to reduce the use of the trucks. Alan David Trejo Salvador, a spokesperson for the National Chamber of Cargo Autotransporters (CANACAR), said the organization has no comment on the Monreal Ávila legislation. But in recent months, they have been more focused on state and municipal regulations, mainly those that seek to impose fees on truckers that deliver or pick up cargo in certain states, and restrictions on where and when they can move cargo.

Truckers say the fees and movement restrictions threaten to increase the cost of delivering cargo and make the delivery and pick up of cargo by trucks more difficult. While the trucking groups see the rules as over-regulation, the local governments say they are simply trying to address congestion on the roads, improve safety, and cut pollution.

Enrique González Muñoz, president of CANACAR, said that after working with the governments of Yucatán and Jalisco to reduce regulations, the association will working with officials in Querétaro “to make sure that this kind of over-regulation won’t be a brake on the logistics and mobility in Mexico.”

The municipality of Querétaro in September enacted a law that will take effect in March and prohibits trucks heavier than 3,857 kilograms (4.25 tons) from driving on certain roads during the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to the National Association of Private Transport users (ANTP). CANACAR said the municipality also banned double tractor-trailers and association officials are concerned that the state will enact additional cargo movement restrictions and a fee on trucks that move cargo, as the states of Jalisco and Yucatán sought to do.

In Jalisco, after opposition from several trucking groups, Gov. Enrique Alfaro Ramírez amended a law that took effect Jan. 1, agreeing to drop the imposition of a fee of 6,000 pesos (US $320) for a permit to enter the city of Guadalajara. Ramirez acted after truckers began organizing a protest blockade, which in the end did not take place. 

In Yucatán, Aref Miguel Karam Espositos, the state government’s secretary of labor and economic development, said at a meeting with CANACAR officials that the state would leave regulation of trucks on highways and cities to the federal government, according to a video provided by the trucking organization. Local news outlet The Daily Yucatán previously reported that the state planned to levy fees of between 5,914 pesos and 31,000 pesos, depending on the weight of a truck.

Contact Hugh R. Morley at hugh.morley@ihsmarkit.com and follow him on Twitter: @HughRMorley1.